KINGS COUNTY - Like it or not, it’s time for motorists to start thinking about the nasty driving conditions that go hand-in-hand with Old Man Winter.
Kings District RCMP spokesperson Kelli Gaudet says there are a number of steps that can be taken to prepare for winter driving.
“It’s always a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. A few items to consider are: gloves, a hat, warm clothes, a shovel, booster cables, windshield washer fluid, a first aid kit, snow brushes, water bottles and non-perishable energy food.”
Before heading out, check weather reports to get a sense of what the road conditions could be like based on the projected forecast.
“Clear snow and ice from your vehicle (and) make sure all windows, lights, mirrors and the roof is cleared of snow and ice. Wait for the foggy windows to clear up so your visibility isn't poor,” says Gaudet, who added that it’s always a good idea to plan ahead for slower travel conditions and turn the lights on to increase visibility in the event of precipitation.
“Never use cruise control if conditions are snowy, icy or wet because if your vehicle hydroplanes, your vehicle will try to accelerate and you may lose control.”
Gaudet stressed that it is crucial all motorists exercise caution behind the wheel, especially on snow covered and icy roads.
“Be sure to anticipate what your next move is going to be and give yourself lots of room and time for turning and stopping,” she says.
She recommends motorists plan ahead by equipping their vehicles with winter tires in anticipation of the colder weather.
Steve Quigley of Valley Tire Ltd. advises customers to look for tires that offer the best possible traction during the worst driving conditions.
“All-season tires do not work in our climate during our winter season. A proper winter tire is designed to work in our extreme temperatures as its rubber compounds remain soft and flexible in the cold, allowing the tread to adhere and grip the road,” he said.
“An all-season tire virtually freezes up as the temps turn colder. The rubber compounds in an all-season become very stiff and not at all flexible, losing its ability to grip the road.”
A “Winter Safety Tips” article published by Transport Canada says vehicles handle the best “when tires of the same type, size, speed rating and load index are installed on all four wheels.”
“Tires marked with the pictograph of a peaked mountain with a snowflake (logo) meet specific snow traction performance requirements, and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions,” the article states.